As one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, Pritzker Prize-winner Richard Rogers stands out as one of the most innovative and distinctive architects of a generation. Rogers made his name in the 1970s and '80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd's Bank in London. To this day his work plays with similar motifs, utilizing bright colors and structural elements to create a style that is recognizable, yet also highly adaptable.
Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' Leadenhall Building has been deemed the City of London's "Building of the Year 2015." The inaugural award, organized by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA), aims to "recognize the extraordinary examples of contemporary architecture across the London cityscape."
The award's jury, chaired by World Architecture Festival director Paul Finch, selected the Leadenhall Building over 15 other publicly nominated buildings. It was lauded for providing a "world-class working environment" and having a positive impact on the city street.
The Architects' Journal have reported that London based practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), headed by Richard Rogers, has refined its in-house structure "as the practice continues to implement its long-term succession plan." The practice, who will move into their new home on level fourteen of the Leadenhall Building following its completion last year, will operate one studio led by Richard Rogers alongside partner Simon Smithson; another by Graham Stirk with partner Richard Paul; and a third headed by Ivan Harbour.
In celebration of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ relocation to their newly constructed Leadenhall Building, the London-based practiced has released a short film that captures the “making of” the 52-story, 225-meter skyscraper. RSHP, now occupying the building’s 14th floor, is said to be proud to be Leadenhall’s latest tenants:
“After 30 years at Thames Wharf Studios, it is important for us to be moving into a building that reflects the ethos and evolution of our design practice, clearly stated in its urban relationship with the Lloyd’s building opposite,” says the partners of RSHP. “We will begin this new phase of our history in a building that already feels like home but allows us the advantages of a contemporary, flexible office space in a prime location in the increasingly vibrant and exciting City of London.”
This past year was a record-breaking season for skyscraper construction. According to a new survey by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), 2014 saw the completion of 97 buildings that were at least 200 meters tall. Of those, 11 were 300 meters or taller, earning them the classification of “supertall.” These are the highest figures on record, with 2011, for example, seeing only 87 200-meters-plus buildings completed.
In addition, in 2014 the total height of completed buildings (23,333 meters) broke the 2011 record of 19,852 meters. With major countries like China becoming increasingly urbanized, and the world economy recovering from recession, the CTBUH expects that these numbers will only increase. See the details of CTBUH’s report, and learn what the numbers may predict about the future of skyscraper construction, after the break.
Settled comfortably around a black conference table – the only item of furniture in an office space still lacking its carpet tiles – on the 40th floor of the new Leadenhall Building, I had the opportunity to discuss with lead designer Graham Stirk and his partner, practice co-founder Richard Rogers, the forces that shaped their new building and how they came to be working in the City of London once again.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has a rich presence in the Square Mile, including the landmark Lloyd’s of London, standing directly opposite the Leadenhall Building. The firm has specialised in assured, sometimes assertive insertions within the City’s fine, historic urban grain, and so setting aside the sheer bravura of the 52-story, 225 meter skyscraper, with its sloping glass façade to the south (giving it the popular nickname of the Cheesegrater) the first question that arose was a simple one – how did the building come about?
Richard Rogers has been honored with the Coutts Lifetime Achievement Medal for his “significant and fundamental contributions to the design industry,” an announcement made as part of the London Design Festival in Rogers’ newly completed Leadenhall Building.
“He has played a leading role in designing buildings that made us think again about how we use them and how they function,” stated London Design Festival director Ben Evans. :His eminence is global, and he is part of a golden era of leading British architects who not only reshaped our city but also reshaped the world to some capacity.”